Without the ability to navigate and participate in community, many people with disabilities, older adults, low-income families, and individuals risk isolation – leading to increased mental health issues, including depression. Accessible and inclusive transportation and systems that support community integration can facilitate an individual’s sense of belonging as well as increase necessary access to employment, education, and health care.
Easterseals has partnered with Travel for All, a company founded nearly 13 years ago by Tarita Davenock after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. An avid traveler prior to her diagnosis, Tarita was already familiar with the challenges that many travelers faced when it came to arrange specific itineraries. Tarita put her travel and years of social work to the test and created Travel for All as a solution to meeting the needs of travelers with disabilities and their caregivers.
A mobility manager is an employee of a transit or human service agency who offers on-on-one counseling or group education on transportation options and alternatives to driving. A referral to a local mobility manager will put you in touch with a transportation expert who can offer information on transportation services that are available in the area, offer guidance on how to find a ride, and in some cases, arrange or coordinate rides. A mobility manager’s job is to take a person-centered approach to finding the right transportation based on an individual’s needs.
If you are unable to locate a mobility manager, you can reach out to an Information and Referral Specialist, an Aging and Disability Resource Center, or a 2-1-1 program (see Step 3 for phone numbers and websites).
Creating a comprehensive list of transportation resources and options can be a daunting task, but chances are others in your community may have already done so. Transportation providers in your community are willing, and often eager, to share their expertise and get the word out about transportation services available.
Transportation providers will want to know answers to specific questions about you or your client’s travels in order to help them find the best option, and you or your client should be prepared to ask any questions you have to better understand the service. The National Aging and Disability Transportation Center has prepared a sheet of questions and information you, your client, or family and caregivers will want to address when deciding on the type of transportation service to use.